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Surgical errors place lives in danger

Surgical errors caused by time constraints and medical negligence are prevalent in the U.S., and may put lives in danger.

People who prep for a surgical procedure in New York or anywhere throughout the United States put their lives in the hands of trusted medical professionals. From anesthesiologists to surgeons and surgical technicians, a medical team often accompanies the patient into the operating room when a procedure is performed. While many surgeries are completed without a problem, a surprising number of medical mistakes are made in the OR. According to Johns Hopkins University, surgical mistakes or 'never events' take place nearly 4,000 times every year in the U.S. These preventable errors can potentially cause serious injuries and even death to innocent patients.

Types of surgical errors

There are many complications that can arise out of a surgical procedure. Some of the most common operating room mistakes include surgeons who perform the wrong procedure on the wrong patient, or operate on the wrong body part. For example, instead of replacing the right knee, the medical professional might inadvertently replace the left knee. Negligence like this will not only require the patient to undergo another surgical procedure, but causes additional pain, money and time taken off work to heal after the surgery.

Another type of negligence occurs when surgeons leave equipment inside the patient once the procedure is complete. Spongy gauze are often used to soak up blood and other fluids, helping the surgeon to clearly see the operating site. If the gauze or other equipment is not properly accounted for, there is a risk of leaving something behind. Gauze may adhere to interior body organs, causing massive infection. When left unattended, this infection can spread and may severely injure or kill the patient.

Avoiding mistakes in the operating room

Communication is one of the best ways to prevent surgical errors from occurring. Surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses should meet with the patient just prior to the surgery to verify the patient's name, allergies, as well as the procedure that is being performed. Some doctors will even mark the operating site during the prep period.

During the procedure, surgical assistants should keep an accurate count of the equipment to avoid leaving something behind in the operating site. Some health institutions have incorporated special technology to help with this process.

Upholding your rights

If you have been injured or lost a loved one as a result of medical negligence, you may want to speak to a medical malpractice attorney in New York regarding your legal options. You have rights, and you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, pain, discomfort and lost wages from work.